Minister’s comments on business ‘far from the truth’ – CEO

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni’s comments that the private sector has no interest in developing the country and wants to collapse the government are shocking, far from the truth, and not shared by the President. 

This is feedback from Business Unity South Africa CEO Cas Coovadia, who told Newzroom Afrika that the Minister’s comments were “extremely unfortunate”.

Ntshavheni made her comments in light of Standard Chartered Bank being fined R43 million for manipulating the value of the rand against the US dollar.

The Minister said that the government has maintained “that the performance of the rand and sometimes the performance of the economy has been manipulated by the private sector, which has no interest in the development of this country”. 

“They continue to engineer and do machinations to make sure that the government collapses.”

“That’s why they also self-feed in the narrative that there’s a collapsing state and a collapsing economy because that’s what they wish for, and their actions do that.”

However, she said the South African economy remains resilient despite the private sector’s efforts. 

She also emphasised the importance of consequences for the companies involved in manipulating the rand. 

“They cannot be left untouched because they wanted to collapse this country. There must be consequences, and there will be consequences.”

While Coovadia agrees that Standard Chartered must be punished and if other banks are found guilty, they should be too, he completely disagrees with Ntshavheni’s comments about South African businesses in general. 

“I hope that she will perhaps clarify them. From what I have seen, we have just got to say it is far from the truth,” Coovadia said. 

In contrast to trying to undermine the government, business has entered into a major partnership with the state to tackle the pressing issues of load-shedding, logistics bottlenecks, and crime and corruption. 

“I spend 80% of my time currently on the partnership business has with the government through the Presidency, with the active involvement of President Ramaphosa,” Coovadia said. 

“This is far from business not being interested in the development of South Africa, far from business wanting to bring the government down. We are working with the government.”

Coovadia said Ntshavheni’s comments were surprising and shocking because the facts just do not bear out her version of events. 

“I must say, I would be very surprised if the President agrees with these comments to be quite honest with you because our interactions with the President have been very positive.”


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